High-Ranking Universities That Are Making Progress In Increasing Enrollments of Low-Income Students

Last week JBHE published its rankings of the nation’s leading universities in enrolling low-income students. UCLA and Berkeley led the group by a large margin.

But it is important, too, to note which high-ranking universities are making progress in increasing their percentage of low-income students. We are pleased to report that since 2006, 23 of the nation’s 30 highest-ranked universities have shown an increase in their percentages of low-income students. Two universities had the same percentage as was the case two years ago and only five showed a decline in the percentage of low-income students. The largest gains were at Harvard University, Emory University, MIT, and Stanford.

Washington University, Cornell University, UCLA, Vanderbilt, and Carnegie Mellon University were the five high-ranking universities to show a decline in low-income students in the 2006 to 2008 period.

Over a longer, five-year period from the 2003-04 academic year to the 2008-09 academic year, only seven of the top 30 universities have shown an increase in low-income students. Harvard has shown the largest gain. In 2004, 9.4 percent of Harvard undergraduates were from low-income families. During the 2008-09 academic year, the figure had increased to 15 percent. Princeton, MIT, and Emory University also posted significant gains over the five-year period.